Monk charged with murder of British tourist


A BUDDHIST monk was last night charged with murder and robbery after a young British tourist missing in Thailand for over a month was found dead.

A decomposed body, identified by police as that of Ms Johanne Masheder (23), a newly qualified solicitor, of Wincle, Cheshire, England, was found by a Thai villager in a ravine near a Buddhist temple close to the town of Kanchanaburi, about 130 km southwest of Bangkok.

The monk confessed to killing the woman amid a bungled robbery in which he had pushed her into a ravine near the River Kwai.

"The suspect confessed that he robbed and killed the woman but said he did not rape her," a police officer told Reuters after questioning the monk.

Police had said earlier the woman appeared to have been raped before she died.

They said the man admitted raping another Western woman tourist in the same area last year.

Ms Masheder arrived in Thailand on November 28th and was reported missing by her family in early December. Police launched a search for her earlier this month.

They questioned four monks attached to the temple and three were released later.

Ms Masheder's body had been sent to Bangkok for an autopsy, police said.

British embassy officials were not available for comment. Ms Masheder's father, in Thailand helping the search, was called to Kanchanaburi to identify the body. He refused to talk to reporters.